Finite Time: Infinity Footage

By Jim Rossignol on May 3rd, 2010 at 7:20 pm.


A whole bunch of people have mailed this in to me or to the RPS address, each one mentioning how Infinity had been forgotten, neglected, or otherwise ignored by everyone else. So perhaps it’s the case that there’s actually a lot of people following this, it’s just that it’s been teetering into the realms of vapourware for so long that no one really dares tp say much about it. The most recent offering was the combat prototype, which didn’t detail the really impressive stuff, such as planetfall or Infinity’s proposed sandbox. Could this latest offering do a bit more to excite? It’s a long slice of footage from a recent tech demo, which Infinity’s creator talks about in detail here. In short, the videos posted below are the most recent footage from the all-encompassing persistent-world space opus that we hope one day will make it to the PC. It’s lavish-looking: startling decents from orbital space to a planet’s surface and back again. If just for the reality of landscape tech, you’re going to want to take a look at this.

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104 Comments »

  1. Dain says:

    My legs! What have you done with my legs!?

    • Phoshi says:

      That was my first thought too. These guys have created at least an entire planet and the surrounding space, and haven’t given the pilot legs?

    • Starky says:

      It is pre-alpha tech building and testing, why on earth would they waste time with such assets as a pilot model?

      I’d wager the last thing any Dev team put into a game is the art-only assets (as in ones that only make the game look pretty but serve no technical function) the ship screens, HUDs and displays clearly serve a real purpose so they got done.

  2. liceham says:

    These videos make me want to play Morrowind again. Is that weird?

  3. Inigo says:

    YOU AIN’T GOT NO LEGS, LIEUTENANT DAN

  4. nayon says:

    I’d pay to play this even at the state it is right now.

  5. Navagon says:

    Space sims aren’t usually my favourite genre, but I’m with nayon on this: I need to have this.

  6. westyfield says:

    I could do that for, like, half an hour at least without getting bored. Perhaps more.

  7. Tei says:

    Beatifull images. I suppose a singleplayer game can be made around this. Maybe one with “Elite” like gameplay, or something new.

    The astronomy fan on me want to whine that planetary rings are not that dense, but I have not harddata. Also, I doubt you will get a planet like this one with soo much rocks flyiing around. One thinks on a planet with soo much rocks floating around, lots of these rocks “raining” over the planet would be normal. With House size asteroids hiting your planet every week, and texas size every year, you planet don’t stay that green very long.

    Why other games don’t exploit the potential that this video shows PC gaming have? is because we are building on 20 years old engines? Maybe we are using O(n) optimized engines, that get exaust after 2M polys, and wee need O(log(n)) engines, …. capable to manage 100M polys scenes rendering 100K polys using seriusly cool LOD algorythms.

    There are lots of things that “just work” with O(n), till you get really big numbers. I suppose.
    But building engines from scratch, just because our old engines are optimized for a old era is really expensive. Also, the money is on the consoles, and the consoles can’t benefict much from new technology, or are already getting as much as possible with the old hardware of these machines.

    *scratch his head* I don’t know why we don’t have a Planetside 2 game with this graphics. Maybe is illegal in usa… like having a machine to print money.

    • DuckSauce says:

      “Why other games don’t exploit the potential that this video shows PC gaming have?”

      Because they’ve been working at this for YEARS already and it’s still pre-alpha.
      It’s gonna be a few more years before they can start selling this.

      It could be the next World of Worldcraft(this is an MMO after we’re talking about), or the gameplay could end up being hugely flawed in the end and no one buys it.

      The latter reason is why other games don’t go this far, applause should be given for these brave developers on working on this game for so long and I wish them the best of luck, may your efforts pay off and further the borders of gaming.

    • ACardboardRobot says:

      I think there are only like 7-8 programmers on the team at this moment, and all of them are part time I think.

      So, that’s not actually that many man-years in development, and a larger development house would have a larger team, multiples larger if an mmo probably.

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      Vitamin Powered says:

      I suspect the limitation isn’t in the coding, but in the creation of the art elements.

      It’s why we’re going to see a lot more developers looking to procedural art in the future; as technology gets better and better, the continued need for high quality art in games, and more of it, will become a strain on the resources of development teams.

      The other point to consider is that procedurally generating planets, stars, solar systems etc. is incredibly easy when compared to procedurally generating people. There are numerous algorithms for natural-seeming landscapes (I’d recommend this book on it if you really want to read up on procedural algorithms), however natural looking people tends to require a more artistic mindset in creation.

  8. Metalfish says:

    I’m impressed. The atmosphere on the planet in the first vid looks a little thin, but that’s needless pedantry.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Just because the planet has vegetation and icecaps doesn’t mean it has to have an atmosphere as thick as Earth’s though, does it? It could just be a planet with thin atmosphere.

      In any case, this looks stunning.

    • Koozer says:

      It was a pretty tiny planet, so yes it may have an atmosphere that thin.

  9. Mr_Day says:

    Crikey, that looks lovely. Since for me making planetfall in Evochron was only ever a different spaceport to dock with*, I’d like to see them do something interesting with it. Canyon races, ferrying troops to frontlines of warzones, that species of kidney. Maybe I am just being overly ambitious in my wishes.

    I managed to get both videos to sync up the music, which was a waste of my time and yours for reading this drivel, but oh well.

    * Well, dropping off packacges for the beacon story thing notwithstanding. If you found something else to do on a planet there, do tell – I am genuinely curious.

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      Vitamin Powered says:

      I very much agree; I want missions from ferrying tanks into flak-infested warzones, through to flying under radar to drop off a special forces contingent at a commercial outpost, droping nukes on alien swarms and rescue missions so close to a star my shielding starts to melt.

  10. Office Casual says:

    How did I not realize this game was in the works? From the time I first started playing PC games, I’ve dreamed of the ability to seamlessly travel between a planet’s surface and space.

    Anyone know the likelihood of this actually being released?

    • Mr_Day says:

      Elite: Frontiers allowed you to go from space to planet surfaces and back again, even down to being able to land at a space port in London on Earth.

      Mind you, because when Elite 2 was released, the engine wasn’t particularly up to much, terrain wise.

      Evochron Legends also allows it, but the planets themselves are remarkably small.

    • alway says:

      Infinity: The best kept secret in PC Gaming.
      As for walking around, the dev has stated numerous times he will not, and probably never will, implement it. For one, the engine isn’t made for it. Two, it takes a ton of work to get anything which looks remotely decent, especially compared to that scenery. A decent human model takes more polies than a capital ship, in addition to a metric crapton of animating and making the engine work with it. After that is done, every model in the game needs to be made high-rez so it doesn’t look like crap from 5 feet away. This is a space game about spaceships, lots of space, and hundreds of billions of star systems, and not about taking a stroll around an asteroid to kill 20 boars. There are ships which are over a kilometer long. If you want to go pew pew with guns on an alien planet, the Halo Reach beta is that way —->

    • bildo says:

      uh…Spore

  11. DSX says:

    Second star to the right and straight on till morning indeed.. I love how they switched to GUI and moused on the stars to indicate that you could potentially travel to other systems as varied and as numerous as the stars. And indeed you could if a content generator was able enough. Now to just wrap a strong enough plot, a myriad of narrative devices and characters etc to fill that space, and you’d have literally the best.sand.box.game.ever.

  12. Bobsy says:

    I hope the super-fast acceleration and deceleration has been imposed for making the video. It would take a lot of the fun out of space exploration if you can go from terrestrial speeds to interstella speeds just like that.

    Other than that, man alive is that impressive stuff. Want! DOUBLE WANT!

    • Dain says:

      If you read the commentary he mentions that a speed limit is enforced on the planet because otherwise the terrain generator couldn’t keep up.

      I imagine they’ll smooth it out, they seem to be utter perfectionists.. which is the worrying thing!

    • Raum says:

      It’s the other way around, the speeds are way to high.

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      Maltose says:

      The speed’s too high for it to be realistic, but too slow for people who don’t have enough time in their day to play EVE (not that there’s anything wrong with playing or not playing EVE).

  13. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Vapourware is definitely the right word to use, but nonetheless this looks as awesome as it did years ago when we hadn’t yet realized it will never come out.

  14. Cael says:

    I hope when it’s done they add lifeforms to the planet. It looks very nice though.

  15. Blandford says:

    Oh man, I’ve been following the development of this game for the past couple of years.
    Since playing Freelancer I’ve been obsessing over any space-flight-sim, but I have yet found one that had satisfied my needs.
    And yes, I have tried X3, but I really am too young to have the attention span required to study how to play this game.

  16. Grunt says:

    Dear Mr Developer,

    Never mind finishing the combat or any of any of the station; I’d pay you £100 right now for one copy of the space simulator you have built so far. This is the ultimate tourism sim you’re building, the dream that so many spacesim nuts have held in their heads ever since a Cobra MkIII first blasted out of Lave. Who needs other humans ruining the experience when right here right now you could have the universe as your playground?

    I love you, and want to have your babies.

    Hugs,
    Grunt.

    • MWoody says:

      Y’know, I might have said the same thing, a week ago. Then I bought Fuel, a beautiful, procedurally generated world much more complex than even this one. And at $4, I can’t help feeling I paid too much.

      Without the meat of the game, even the best world begins to feel flat. Even GTAIV, once I discovered how little there was to do in free roam, grew stale within an hour.

    • Urthman says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy FUEL, but that was not my experience at all.

      I’ve had it for months. It’s not been a play-it-every-night-for-hours-until-you-finish-it obsession, but I play it frequently and still really enjoy zooming around the landscape, finding scenic spots, hoovering up fuel barrels towards a new vehicle, and doing a couple races or challenges. I enjoy it a lot, and think I’d enjoy a procedurally-generated galaxy/planet exploration sim even more.

      (I love how FUEL puts those barrels everywhere, which are the same currency you get from races, so that you can earn new vehicles just driving around and exploring almost as easily as you can from winning races.)

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    Vitamin Powered says:

    The procedural landscape junkie in me is telling me to get this now!

  18. Aubrey says:

    The seamless transition between space and atmosphere, the way it perceivably turns from a sphere to a disk, the sound of air across aerofoils after a distinct absence of sound… that made me actually gasp.

    Well done these guys!

    • 12kill4 says:

      Id be more impressed if it transitioned from disc to disc resting on the backs of four great elephants, who in turn are standing upon the shell of a collosal space-faring turtle…

  19. Mike says:

    This would be an excellent final link between CCP’s Dust and EVE Online.

  20. Mr_Bacco says:

    Concepts like this are why I play video games.

  21. Garg says:

    Looks pretty decent. Would be nice if there were some atmosphere entry graphics (red colour heating of the hull and surrounding air).

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Er.

      Are you being sarcastic?

      There are.

    • Rich says:

      The hull glows, but it’d be pretty cool to see a cone of flame around the ship as it comes in.
      As I said further down though, the hull should glow going up. Unless I suppose it’s doing a Blackbird and skimming along the edge of the atmosphere.

    • Rich says:

      …should not glow going up.

    • snv says:

      When fast enough the hull should glow whichever direction, but i think the glow you see in there is not because of that, but because the suns light got fractured on the horizon. I mean what you witness is the same effect responsible for red glows on mornings and evenings.

    • NuZZ says:

      Earth spacecrafts exit velocity is far less than their enter velocity and hence why we only experience the heat entering. This craft is going the same speed in and out.

      For this to be more convincing: Larger cone as suggested, sound effect of burning air, like a meteorite and finally: much thicker atmosphere.

      Reasoning: or else don’t make the planet green; because if atmosphere is that thin that means planet is probably around as dense as Mars. Mars hasn’t a thick atmosphere because its gravity is too low. Unless you’re looking at this planet at the brief sweet-spot in time it managed to retain an atmosphere, then it’s a tad unrealistic. As mentioned before in comments, the rings are too dense. The rocks in orbit are gimmicky huge. It wouldn’t be hazardous for this to be around an Earth-like planet for life to exist; but that is because these rocks would have collided into each other generating many far smaller rocks, leaving few larger rocks free to devastate. This should happen during the period the planet is molten hot and newly created, or when a moon around said planet later is destroyed by a asteroid or comet. Only if the latter is true, then is this scenario likely. However, if you have all these unlikely scenarios playing out: rocky planet, sweet spot distance from sun, big enough to have atmosphere (for very brief time), having a moon and having an asteroid impacting it – all of this at the same time. I guess I am forgetting this is fiction. Basically; think Avatar science. It makes you cringe a bit but then when you get down to it, they sort of covered their bases and it generally makes sense, maybe with some convenient magic-psuedoscience thrown in.

  22. yaster says:

    MY GOD!

    B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L

    *mumblecanIhasnukeitfromtheorbitplzmumble*

  23. jackflash says:

    So glad to see this is still coming along. Really can’t wait for more.

  24. Mistabashi says:

    Why must this be an MMO? Hasn’t everyone realised by now that other people always ruin any sense of immersion in games?

    Damned other people, those guys are dicks.

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      Vandelay says:

      And from being in awe of this I become uninterested.

      Why can’t they make any epic space sim single player games anymore?

    • Rich says:

      Freespace with atmospheric flight and planet colonies to defend. That’s the game for me.

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      AS says:

      I don’t know, a server full of RPS people couldn’t be that bad… Wait, we’re talking about other people.

      A funny moment in BF:BC2 on the RPS server, before working auto balance – everyone is notified that the teams are unbalanced, so a number of people switch teams to make it even. Turns out too many people switch and teams need to be balanced again, except you can’t switch teams too often, leading to people possibly getting booted for trying to do the friendly thing.

  25. Mr. Versipellis says:

    PWETTIFULL!

  26. Mr_Bacco says:

    If this game ever does get released, the trolling will be truly spectacular.

  27. Mr_Bacco says:

    If this game ever does get released the trolling will be truly spectacular.

  28. DXN says:

    I played this over some ATC chatter, just to satisfy my inner space geek.

    DO WANT PLEASE. I don’t even want them to put in any story, characters or combat. In a space game, I find they just get in the way (at least at the standard they’ve been written at so far).

  29. Neut says:

    Forget combat, I would happily fly around just exploring the stars and planets. If anyone’s ever used Celestia, I’ve always wanted someone to make a game like it, this looks like it could be it.

    • Urthman says:

      I’d hesitate to mention this because the learning curve is so high, but if you already know about Celestia and how to navigate in both space and time, then you might really love The Memory of the Waves.

      http://www.celestialmatters.org/users/rthorvald/ran/

      It’s a fictional set of star/planetary systems that runs in Celestia. You start with the coordinates of a space probe. You can follow it forward and backward in time to uncover the history of one or more spacefaring/starfaring civilizations. It’s a little bit like a cross between Myst and NOCTIS (or Infinity, or some other space-exploring game).

      It’s amazing, with a surprising amount of cool stuff to find, but if you aren’t pretty familiar with the Celestia interface, able to orbit and follow planets and spacecraft, able to jump quickly back and forth in time at decreasing speeds to pinpoint the exact moment that…OMGWTFHAPPENEDTOTHATPLANET?!? Then you’re going to be extremely frustrated with it.

    • TimA says:

      Ohmygosh urthman this looks just my cup of tea. Thanks!

      Of course, there’s always Orbiter if you fancy some realistic space exploration, it is rather pretty too.

    • cs says:

      You want Noctis. You get to fly around a galaxy with millions of stars, systems and worlds with no combat at all to be found. It’s a little tricky to get running on Vista / 7 but it’s worth it.

    • TimA says:

      For those interested, and running vista/7/64, I recommend the Noctis you can get from here: http://mooses.nl/nice/releases/NISCE/

      Just run the DWNoctis exe and you’re away. I hope Noctis V one day comes to release.

  30. Rich says:

    The ship’s nose shouldn’t have started to glow when leaving the planet’s atmosphere. Only when entering. Plus there’s no way you could enter the atmosphere at that angle without vaporising.

    Still, looks fantastic. Just imagine that planet being populated with cities and little colonies you can land in to trade and take missions. Awesome.

    • sebmojo says:

      He could if he had a nosecone made of BYZANIUM.

      Everyone knows that.

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      Chaz says:

      @ Rich

      Ah but you’re basing your suppositions on Earths atmoshpere and our current materials and technology.

    • Rich says:

      For the dive angle, yes. It did look like a pretty thin atmosphere.
      The glow when going up would require the atmosphere to increase in density as you get further from the surface though.

      It’d be cool if they actually made hull temperature a factor when landing on a planet. Come in too fast and the hull starts to heat up. If it gets too hot it starts to take damage.

  31. Marcin says:

    Looks nice, hopefully those are placeholder flight physics. Feels like a camera being flown through an environment, going from thousands of kps to mere thousands per hour (still too fast for planetary flight) with no effort to the delta vee.

    Add in a flight model and some ferry missions and I’ll never need another space sim, though.

  32. Jimmy says:

    Looks beautiful even if it’s been in the works for several years. I would love to spend a few hours zooming around the planet, like Endless Ocean. Or Google Earth 2, this time with space ships, or Lock On, with planetary scope.

  33. Scandalon says:

    Um, maybe they’re/he’s working on things like terrain, atmosphere effects, etc. and player model is further down on the list? Maybe the dude knows he’s not good at modeling (for example) and is waiting to get that done right rather than throw in some programmer art to which you all would complain “Why do his legs look like crap? He should have waited until it was ready!”.

  34. Scandalon says:

    Reply-fail, in response to Dain/Phoshi, above.

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    DollarOfReactivity says:

    Reminds me of 3000AD’s Battlecruiser games, but with much prettier graphics. Their problem seems to have been a game design far too ambitions for their resources. If you got past the bugs, there were some incredibly awesome mechanics there, like battlefleet management and the orbit-to-ground seamless transitions.

    This is the first I’ve heard of Infinity – but it sounds like everything I’d want to play (like everything I’d hoped EVE would become).

  36. Jason Moyer says:

    What a cute little planet it. I want to pinch its cheek.

  37. Miles of the Machination says:

    I should probably stop having good ideas since high production value developers keep stealing them.

  38. Meatloaf says:

    Space-gasm.

    I’ve been looking forward to a good space-sim ever since Freelancer 2 got axed.

  39. Wulf says:

    I really like the look of this, and I can’t help but wonder what they’re going to do with the planet-side exploration. Are they going to have lush-vegetation on some planets? Will some be civilised at all (cities and such)? Will there be discoveries to be made on planets (this was one of my favourite things about Star Control II)? If the answer to all of the above is yes, then I’m in.

  40. Isometric says:

    I posted this on my blog the other day and was amazed by the detail. Has entering the atmosphere of a planet ever been done in a game before likes this? I do hope this happens one day. I didn’t know it was in trouble though?

  41. Ballisticsfood says:

    I would be happy for this to be released purely as a space exploration game, like the old, old procedural galaxy explorabout Noctis (anyone else here know that game?)

    Then again, I can see the appeal of making everything more, well, full of stuff.

    • Wulf says:

      Haa, I loved Noctis. It was an absolute joy to explore, and one of those games that was fun solely for the exploring and the discoveries borne of that exploration. Those sorts of games are sadly rare.

  42. Nolan says:

    Just make the ship look like Serenity and we’re good to go.

  43. Davie says:

    I have to say, the fact that they built an entire Moon-sized planet is pretty damned impressive, even in its clearly unfinished state. If this ever comes out, I’ll certainly be interested.

    • Czechton says:

      They created a whole galaxy to scale by the way, not just 1 planet. AKA fucking billions of them. Procedural generations is a mind blowing thing when done so beautifully and on such a mindblowing scale.

  44. Czechton says:

    I’m just glad people actually know this exists. :D

  45. blaargh says:

    Scaling seems sort of strange. I’d like to see Orbiter using this engine, though.

  46. IvanHoeHo says:

    OMG WANT.

    Too bad it’s caged within a MMO, a genre I have next to none interest in.

    Maybe they could license out the engine (with the procedural stuff, obv.) to other devs with a different vision? Or if that’s too much of a competitive risk for them, they might contract out to [mod teams? I dunno] who are to construct modules (gameplay changes, campaigns, completely new game elements and mechanics, etc.)?

    Ah well, who am I kidding? there’s a reason why I’m an unemployed fresh grad and not an entrepreneur with a bold yet functional business plan.

  47. Flatfingers says:

    I’ve been following this one for several years now. It’s still fun reading the first reactions of people to the tech demos.

    But I haven’t checked in lately beause the last I heard (a couple of years ago), the plan was to take this incredible procedural galaxy and its movement system… and bolt onto it not just an MMO, but a game in which “winning” will be dictated entirely by player skill, not RPG-based character abilities. Basically, EVE on steroids. That gameplay design virtually guarantees that what could have been a glorious foundation for years of exploratory fun is destined to wind up being a trash-talking, tea-bagging pwnagefest.

    I don’t object to there being MMOs that are all about player skill. There’s fun in that. What I object to is grafting that kind of gameplay onto this game universe — I don’t think it’s a good fit. Gameplay that’s about screwing with other people doesn’t need billions of beautifully-rendered worlds, and having billions of beautifully rendered worlds without being able to concentrate on exploring and interacting with them is a criminally wasted opportunity.

    The one hope I’ve been clinging to is that the primary developer, Flavien Brebion, is designing the world-generation/display/movement system as a standalone engine that he can license to other developers, who can then build their own gameplay systems inside that world. We’ll see.

  48. Anthony says:

    Does Derek Smart still visit this here site?

    He’d probably be annoyed by this.

  49. taikonaut says:

    Impressive… throw in some Kilrathi and you got me.

  50. Slamelov says:

    Too nice to be true. I hope they release it some day.